Nairobi — Robert Godec has been confirmed as the United States ambassador to Kenya, as the East African nation prepares to hold elections on March 4.
US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Godec's appointment was important for US-Kenya relations.
"Kenya is one of the United States' most strategic partners in Africa and is preparing to hold national elections on March 4," she asserted.
In recognition that Kenya is preparing for the first general election under the new Constitution, Nuland said the US government was keen to support the country in its quest to conduct peaceful, free and fair elections.
She said it is in the interest of her government that Kenya will not repeat the mistakes of the 2007 elections that left over 1,000 Kenyans dead and over 650,000 others displaced and massive destruction that to date left a good number of Kenyans suffering in camps.
"These are the first national elections under Kenya's new Constitution, and they are an opportunity for Kenya to show the world it has moved decisively past the tragic violence following the disputed 2007 elections. Underscoring our commitment to a strong relationship with the people and Government of Kenya and our commitment to support free, fair, and peaceful elections, Secretary Clinton wanted to get Ambassador Godec on his way as quickly as she could," Nuland said.
US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton administered the oath of office to Godec on January 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Godec who has been the acting ambassador since September last year has strongly advocated for a democratic general election conducted in line with the Constitution.
He has joined others in the international community in taking the stand that it is up to Kenyans to elect their own leaders.
However, he has advised Kenyans to base their politics on issues and also to ensure they keep off divisions especially along negative ethnicity and deep political divisions that were highly blamed for the violence that followed the disputed elections five years ago.
Godec who previously served in various positions at the US Department of State in Washington previously served at the US Embassy in Nairobi from 1996 to 1999.
He was the ambassador to Tunisia from 2006 to 2009.
He replaces Scott Gration who resigned under controversial circumstances after he was accused of allegedly mishandling embassy staff and breaching security rules at the embassy.